Thursday, April 17, 2014

Celebrate the Small

Celebration #1
I know this may seem corny to some but last week when I got on the plane to fly to San Diego for Ragnar I went to buckle my seat belt and this is what I saw.

A whole several inches, maybe even a foot or more of leftover seat belt. Not to mention my legs were even crossed. It made me smile. I'm sure the guy sitting next to me was wondering what in the world I was doing when I pulled out my phone and was trying to get a picture at just the right angle of my lap.  Oh well, I didn't care. I was just relishing in the fact that a few years before that when boarding an airplane I would have to quietly ask the flight attendant for a seat-belt extender in order to get the seat belt to fit around me.
Celebration #2
After losing a good portion on my weight I needed to get my wedding ring re-sized as I was fearful of having it fall off and losing it somewhere. Now, maybe I should tell you that at one point in my life I needed to have gold added to the ring in order for it to fit as I had put on weight since my wedding day. I remember that being a very hard thing for me.  I felt like I was accepting the fact that I was getting fat but the reality was that I didn't want to go without my ring either. Regardless, my ring has fit fine since having the gold removed again after losing the weight, but often times, over the last several months, I notice it spin around on my finger and display itself as maybe needing yet another sizing. Again, this is exciting to me. Even though I may not be losing large amounts of weight anymore, my body is still changing as I continue to work on my fitness.
Here it is, nearly 3 1/2 years since taking off all my weight, and the little surprises or the moments like these make me celebrate who I have become.  

Is there something you can celebrate this week? Whether it be big or small, we all had to start somewhere. Celebrate something! 

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Keeping Your Eye on the Goal

I've been thinking about this very thing a lot the last few days. I think most of it comes from the fact that I was in California for nearly a week.  When I got home, I was in survival mode the last few days of the week just trying to get through the rest of the week at work and trying to make what food we had in the house get us by until the weekend when I could get out and do my regular shopping. 

I guess I bring this topic up because it seems to be very real in most of our lives. Things come up, we go out of town, we are out of our routine, and things get out of whack per say. I know in past years when these types of things came my way it seemed like a perfect opportunity to throw the towel in the bag for a while (which could be weeks, months, or even years) and give up or self-sabotage all the hard work I had put into trying to be healthy. I was thinking about it today and almost felt sad for the old Paige, that she would do that to herself. Then I realized, back then, she didn't know any different. She hadn't fully wrapped her head around the lifestyle part of things. In fact, I'm sure I didn't even realize the things I was eating were all that bad back then. It wasn't until I made the effort to educate myself on food, exercise, and it's affect on the body that things started to change for me. 

With that being said, this past week was a bit of a challenge for me. It's hard to have to eat out more than normal. To not know specifically what I am putting into my mouth, how it was cooked, or if they cook it the way I asked, how many calories were in the dish, and if they measure things out like I do. Most of the time the answer to all of those questions is the opposite of what you were hoping. Now, does that mean you should never eat out? Of course not. That wouldn't be living life if you didn't. It's the constant having to eat out that can put a damper on things, being out of town, and the daily consumption of not your usual routine that can get you out of sync.

One of the things that has been a blessing to me since taking off my weight is that anytime I seem to get out of sync (and if you know me, this really doesn't happen often) I crave my normal. I can't wait to get back to routine, measuring, and logging of my food. Even though I know it's good for me to get out of my routine and "live" every once in a while, I always look forward to getting back on track and doing what my body is used to. In fact, day one in California, even though I was enjoying my treats, and I didn't have my measuring cups in my suitcase, I already knew that my body would be ready to return to normal upon my return home. 

I've been home now for a few days and have gotten back into the gym, gone for a run, and stocked up on all the things my body craves during the week in order to function at its best. I don't regret enjoying myself while out of town but I'm looking forward to getting rid of the salt, sluggishness, and tiredness that naturally comes when I fuel my body with the wrong kinds of things. I always look at these vacations or time away from the norm as opportunities to make myself stronger and relish in the fact that I truly have changed my life.  I can eat and not feel guilt, I can enjoy and not worry, and know that my body has found a place that I will bring it back to as its "new normal." A place of balance, nutrition, exercise, and peace. This can can only happen when keeping your eye on the goal. 

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Friday, April 11, 2014

Ragnar Recap

I boarded the plane in Boise last Thursday morning both excited and a bit nervous about what was about to unfold within a couple hours. Here I was, after months of correspondence, planning and training, off to finally meet face-to-face with my 11 teammates. I tried to distract myself on the plane by reading and listening to music but that didn’t seem to be working. I think the guy in the seat next to me could tell I was fidgety, so he started talking with me. He wanted to know why I was headed to San Diego, so for the next 45 minutes I was able to explain to him everything about this Ragnar I was about to run and how the team, Strangers to Solemates, was formed. He was more excited than I think I was to get off that plane. He gave me his email and told me he’d love to hear all about it and how the team all meshed together and everything in between. In fact, he followed me outside wanting to see how my first interaction with my team went over. 
John (one of our team captains) was waiting outside by the curb as I walked out of the airport. He had already picked up several of the others and dropped them to either get the other van we were renting for the weekend or dropped them at his house. Bonnie was with him and had run in to look for me, but I hadn’t checked any bags so I wasn’t in the baggage claim area. Caitlin was the first person who greeted me with a hug. We loaded my bags in the van, I hopped in and climbed over the seat to give John a hug, and then Bonnie was there to claim hers shortly after. We drove around for about 15 minutes and then Katie arrived. I was really looking forward to hugging on her as she was the one who started this whole thing for me. She got in the van and was just as adorable as I imagined. 
We all got back to John’s house and waited for Thomas to arrive before heading north to the starting line. His flight was delayed but nobody seemed to mind as he was bringing everyone a Voodoo Donut from Portland. After Thomas had arrived and we’d given enough hugs to go around 5 times or so, we all loaded into the 2 vans and headed to our hotel near the starting line. We had gotten 3 rooms so we put 2 people from each van in a room to mix things up a bit. Caitlin and I were in the same van and got paired up with Bonnie and Martha. They were super fun and made it a perfect start to an even more perfect weekend. 
Before heading to bed we had all went to dinner as a group and then hit Party City to purchase van decorations and a few goofy things to wear along the way. 
I was in van #1 so we were up and out the door rather early. We needed to get signed in, pick up our race stuff, and have our first runner ready by 5:00am. Our running assignments were as follows: Runner 1 =Thomas, Runner 2 =Katie, Runner 3= John, Runner 4= Caitlin, Runner 5 = Hilary, and Runner 6= me. Those are the people I really spent the majority of my time with. 

Van 2 had Runner #7 = Dean, Runner #8= Tay, Runner #9 = Martha, Runner#10= Bonnie, Runner #11= Cat, and Runner #12= Colleen.  Van 2 got up and met us at the starting line just before 5:00 to see Thomas off.
That’s one of the things I loved about this team. It was all about support, bonding, and having fun.  Not winning Ragnar. In fact, one of my favorite parts about the whole race was offering van support and cheering one another on. 
It was inspiring to be a part of something like that. We didn’t care. We got out, made tunnels for our runner and others coming by, rang cow bells, cheered, gave other runners licorice as they were running past and whatever else we could think of to brighten someone else’s leg of the race. At one point I even ran after Thomas on one of his legs in my flip-flops ringing a cow bell down the street in the middle of the night. That’s just the kind of team we were. We wanted our runners to feel loved and we weren’t afraid to show it.
Now onto my legs of the race and how things played out for me. Like I said, I was runner 6 so I was the last to run in our van before passing off to van two. I actually really liked this position. I tend to be a nervous runner and having to go last gave me everything I needed to see how it all worked, relax, gear myself up, and be ready. My first leg was 8.7 miles. I remember seeing Hilary coming in towards me and I pressed the button on my I-pod to get my music going. She came in, passed off our bracelets, gave me a hug, and off I went. I rounded the first corner and the tears began to start. Here I was doing what I thought was never possible at one point in my life, let alone now being a part of a relay team. It was so moving to me in the moment, but I also knew I needed to pull it together because I had a long way to go and any time I get emotional I tend to be tired afterward. I certainly didn't want any setbacks my first leg out. I continued to run along at what seemed like a very fast pace for me so I glanced down at my Garmin and noticed I was just under a 9 minute mile! Yikes! I knew right then I needed to put on the brakes. I had no idea I was running that fast nor was I capable of such a thing. I NEVER run that fast. It's just not me. I just think the whole experience of finally being out there and the added adrenaline had me going for a few minutes there.  I was able to settle into a decent pace and trek along. Most of the first leg had a slight incline. It probably wouldn't have been noticeable for many, but I totally notice these things and it was an incline. Just about the time I was wondering if it was ever going to end, I came across a runner who had fallen/tripped over a crack in the curb. A few runners in front of me continued on and just passed him by. This being my first Ragnar, I had no idea what I was supposed to do or what the rules were but I didn't care. I stopped to help him. He didn't have a phone and I did, thanks to my team captain John, who counseled us to never run without a phone (I'll be planning to purchase a nifty phone pouch like a couple of team mates have as soon as I find one at the next expo I attend). He called his team and they were only a couple minutes away, so I stayed with him long enough to make sure he was okay and then off I went. When I got to the exchange and saw my whole team there (as van 2 was taking over) the excitement kicked in again. I got teary, and was moved by my own emotions that I was doing this. It was real. 

We headed out from there to get some food and stop off at a local school to visit a reader of Katie's blog who had contacted her and wanted us to stop by. We then went to the next exchange, and I set up my hammock and tried to nap for a while. 

It was cold and windy so I didn't rest well, but it was nice to put my feet up for a while nonetheless. Once Colleen (runner 12) made it to the exchange, Thomas (runner 1) took over again and we were off for our night legs. Mine wasn't too bad and only a few miles long. I'm usually not hip about being in the dark, but my team decked me out in glow apparel and most of the area I was in was not overly creepy. There was one sketchy area, but I just paced the guy in front of me and stuck with him until we were down along the beach again.
After I came in, we headed to our half-way hotel, showered, and got to climb in bed and sleep for 1.5 hours before we were up and back at it. I know that doesn't seem like much sleep but it was. And to have a real bed was even better. Gave me just what I needed to go out and finish strong the next morning. 
We started our last legs in the early hours of the morning. We had so much fun cheering one another along on the last legs. Part of it I'm sure was that we were all so tired and just giddy, so anything really, was entertainment. And then also, we just liked supporting one another. Didn't matter with what, the support system was just who we were made of. 
I remember being a little nervous for my last leg. I knew it involved a hill that went on for just over 2 miles. I tried not to think about it too much but occasionally it would creep up on me. When we pulled into the exchange and I looked to the left, I saw Torry Pines....the HILL I was going to have to go up. 

It was beautiful in looks but to run up it? Umm, didn't look so pretty (and this picture makes it look rather small in size compared to real life).  Hilary passed off to me and off I went. I maintained a decent pace until I got to the base of the hill and then I slowed things WAY down. My first line of attack was to walk it. Then I got there and thought, let's see how I do at a slow pace. And so I did. Up and over, up and over. I kept telling myself that as I ran along. At one point I noticed the gal behind me flagging me down. I turned off my music to see if she needed something and if she was okay. The words out of her mouth were... "You're a  beast! I'm trying to keep up with you but I can't!" I guess I must have needed that because from then on, there was no way I was walking. I trudged, as my team van passed by honking the horn and waving (they later told me the van was down-shifting and their ears were popping and here I was trekking up the side of the mountain). When I made it to the top, I knew I only had a few miles left and I just took off. I didn't care how fast I went or if I was going to burn out.  I just went. It was so empowering. It felt like I could do anything I put my mind to, regardless of how hard it felt.
I rounded the corner and saw Dean standing there for the 3rd and final time as I ran in and once again, the tears began to come. He just was beaming, smiling, like he always does. He gave be a big bear hug and off he went on his last leg. Our van followed him for a while, surprising him in different spots and cheering him on as we were finished with our portion of the race. 
We headed to get a bite to eat at In and Out Burger (yep, I ate naughty and it tasted SO good), went back to John's and rested for a bit, and waited until Van 2 was close to the finish line before we headed out. 

When Colleen (runner 12) was about a mile out, she sent us a text and we all got ready to run the last part of her leg and through the finish line together. There we were all 12 of us, running along in our matching blue shirts, having just run nearly 200 miles toghether. We did it! 

It was such an amazing feeling of accomplishment. Not just for me personally but as a team. We all had to do our part in order to make it happen and that is what I grew to love about Ragnar. It's not about speed and who gets there first. It's about working together as a team, to get you to that finish line. 
That night after the race we had a dinner at John's house.

The next morning we had a brunch together and then from then on out it was time to start saying goodbye to one another one by one. 

I didn't think it was going to be hard but it was. I remember thinking, I can't talk or I'll start crying. It's crazy to think that you could grow to love 11 random people like I did but when you share something so personal as weight-loss and changing your life, it's a bond that is nearly instant. Not many people can truly relate to you unless they've been in your shoes and have lived it. These guys had. 

I am so grateful I was invited to be a part of something so wonderful and great. It hardly feels fair that it's over and done already but a few of the things I am walking away with are courage to try new things, a love for running when I can enjoy the atmosphere and not care about time and pace, team building and lifting others up, and best of all, 11 new friends who will forever be a part of me. 

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

My Secret is Out!

This morning I will board a plane and head to San Diego to run the SoCal Ragnar Relay Series. Yep, true story!  I’ve kept this as a secret of sorts because I’m not usually one to brag or make you all feel jealous (but just for the record, I am SO excited about this race) of the fun things I’m doing and also because running any type of big race (I’ve only done 3) seems to make be anxious and sometimes doubtful of myself and my abilities.  So I figured if I played it down until closer to race day, I’d be okay. Now that my secret is out of the bag, guess who can hardly wait to get to Cali??!!

Here is what the Ragnar Relay site says about Ragnar SoCal...

Yes, the Ragnar SoCal is one of our most popular races in the series for a big reason – the course is spectacular!  Running under the stars at night, seeing your team at three beach exchange points and finishing under the sun is a great way to celebrate with your friends.  Huntington Beach, the pacific coast and a big party at the finish line await you and your fellow runners.  … The ocean breeze in your hair, the sun on your shoulders, and your friends at your side at the finish line.  What could be better?

Okay, so I need to fill you in on what a Ragnar Relay is and how I even was given the opportunity to be a part of such a great experience. A Ragnar Relay is typically a team of 12 people, split into 2 vans, and over the course of 36 hours  they run approximately 200 miles. In my case, our team is running from Huntington Beach to San Diego. The race starts early Friday morning and teammates 1-6 start out on their journey. They each run varying distances and difficulty and then pass the “baton” or in our case a slap bracelet onto the next runner. The van is on the course when possible giving support and aid and this process continues until runners 1-6 have each taken a turn. Van 2 during this time is resting, fueling up, and getting ready to meet up at the exchange point where runner 6 from van 1 will pass off to runner 7 in van 2 and runners 7-12 then start on their journey for the next several hours. From then on it’s a leap-frog event of sorts and the exchange between the two vans continues for a total of 3 cycles. There is always someone on the course running 24/7. I can imagine at times it gets tricky. No sleep (except for what you’ve been able to sneak in), running in the dark (yes, I’m afraid of the dark) and for me, just having it be new territory --All things that probably don’t really even matter but still as a first timer, makes me wonder what to expect. 

Here is the BEST part about the whole thing. I’m taking this trip and running with total strangers! Yep, true story. Thus the team name of Strangers to Solemates. Ok, we really aren’t strangers at all anymore but we once were.  Here is our awesome team logo that one of our teammates, Dean made.
How it call came about: I was contacted by another fellow blogger, Katie back in September. She was wanting to put together a Ragnar team of people from all over the USA, who had never run a Ragnar before. She and a friend of hers, John (who lives in San Diego), were going to be the team captains and thought San Diego would be the perfect setting.  Since John lives in San Diego, he would be able to help with planning, organizing, and helping all of us newbies get acquainted with the event and have a great time. Believe me, these two have gone above and beyond. They are so organized and on top of things! 
The 12 people were selected by October and we immediately set up a private facebook page and have been getting to know each other ever since. Our team name of From Strangers to Solemates really is what we’ve become. It’s like a virtual family I have never met. Everyone on the team has an amazing story of weight-loss (over 100 pounds in most cases) and healthy living that has gotten them to where they are today. We’ve experienced a wedding, change in jobs, a couple of moves, lost family members, and just big-ticket items that happen in life that have brought us together to make us a tight nit bunch.  It has been such a good experience for me so far and I haven’t even boarded the plan yet and met these people.  Can you tell I’m excited?
Okay, so I am runner #6 so I am in the first van scheduled out. Here is a glimpse at what my legs look like and how the race will play out for me.  I will be running a total 15.6 miles. 
My first leg probably is the one I’m most nervous about, so to get it out of the way will be nice. It’s 8.7 miles and is listed as very hard. There looks to be a slight elevation for approximately 3 miles but my understanding is that I will hardly feel it. I sure hope so because I dread hills and they slow me down something fierce. Not only that, I never seem to have that much gas in the tank when I get to the top of any hill, so I would be worried about my progress from there on out. But no worries, I’m thinking positive here, right?  If all goes as scheduled with the runners in front of me, I’m scheduled to take the drivers seat at 9:41 am Friday morning. My second leg is an easy 2.7 miles and it’s my night run so thank goodness it’s short! (Like I said, me and the dark aren’t friends.) I’m scheduled for this run at approximately 10:21pm, so maybe I won’t be much in the dark at all. My last leg is listed as moderate and is 4.2 miles. I’m scheduled to run that one at 7:04 Saturday morning, give or take, depending on how the other legs have shaken out. 
When my van is not on the course we are off, I’m assuming, resting, getting food, restocking the van if needed and supporting other teams and runners. 
Following the finish on Saturday afternoon, we will do some celebrating at the finish line, rest, get cleaned up and then head to John’s house for a party that night. The following morning we have a team brunch scheduled before people start to slowly disperse in the coming days and head back to separate parts of the country to resume life as normal.
And the best part is??? It all starts today!! A couple team members arrived yesterday and the rest fly in this morning. After everyone arrives, we’ll be back on the road within a couple house headed north to Huntington Beach. We’ll have a team dinner, pile 12 strangers (not really, it just sounds funny) in 3 hotel rooms (time to get cozy), and let the fun begin!
In some ways this whole experience seems surreal to me. Just the fact that I was willing to step out of my comfort zone, meet 11 total strangers, come together as one, and now we are meeting up and running 200 miles across California! The other part that blows me away is that for a girl who was self-conscious, and had a weight problem for so many years of her life, to even think about doing a team event like a Ragnar, let alone even the thought of it only 6 short months ago, and now here I am? I’m excited and nervous all in one. I feel like the kid in the candy store or the child on Christmas eve. I can’t wait! 

Full Ragnar Weekend update coming up the end of next week on the blog and maybe a few pictures to the FB page over the weekend. Until then.....Here we go!
Believe in yourself! You never know the things you are capable of until you start somewhere. 

 I had to throw in the picture on the left as it was taken the last time I was in San Diego on Mission Beach. I believe I had lost nearly 50 pounds already at this point. 

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Follow Along.....

Look who's on facebook!

Just a quick note to let you all know that I have set up a facebook page that is linked to my blog. Feel free to press the like button on the right-hand side of the page here on my blog or find me on facebook at Joy Journey Paige and follow along. Of course I still plan to do my regular blog posting, but this will give me a chance to connect and share random thoughts, motivational quotes, quick blurbs, etc. with everyone on a regular basis. Not only that, but I've had it set up for a couple days now and it's kinda fun! 

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Humbled Yet Overwhelmed

A couple weeks ago a friend of mine from high school, who also trains with the same trainer I do, contacted me and asked if she could put a blurb about my weight loss on her blog, Our Best Bites.  Even though I tend to be a fairly private person, I didn't have any problem with it. In fact, I didn't even have to write anything or submit any pictures. She took the pictures she wanted from my blog and was just referencing me in her post, so it was a simple transaction on my part. Now, I know everybody LOVES Sara and Kate's blog. I mean who doesn't? I read it all the time. They are both such great writers and I'm always uplifted after spending a few minutes on their posts each week. I guess for me, I had NO IDEA that I would have SO (and I mean SOOOOOO) many people emailing me asking me questions, asking for advice, sharing their own struggles and stories, etc. after she posted that week. 

Honestly, it's been not only overwhelming but humbling. It's another reminder to me of just how real this journey is for so many. How real it was for myself.  To hear the hurt in the voice of so many emails, the frustration of not seeing results, and the longing and desire to change and be different are all tender feelings pouring into my inbox on a daily basis from real live people who are sitting where I once was. I so appreciate each one of you for reaching out to me. It's touched me in a special way. Maybe a part of my own healing?  I will do my best to respond to your emails in the order they were received but please be patient. Remember, I'm a full-time mom, wife, and also work a full-time job so my time is limited but I do want to get back with you. 

In the meantime, I'm working on a Q & A post. I've started to take some of the general questions I am getting and will answer them in a post in the near future. If you have anything you would like to ask, that you are wanting me to answer, now is the time! You can leave questions in the comments below or send it via email. Hopefully this will help. I know it will help me feel like I'm not ignoring you. :D

In the end, I want you to know that I'm glad you stumbled across me and my blog. Make yourself at home.  A lot of things you may want to know about me you can find in earlier posts. Often times when people ask about my blog, I will tell them to start from the beginning and work their way forward. For as private as a person that I am, I really do open up on here. I think a lot of that is just me finding myself through this journey, and also, because deep down, I want to pay-it-forward and inspire someone else to change their life just like I did. It took a leap of faith for me to ever start losing weight. In the same respect, it takes a leap of faith for me to blog so openly about my experiences. It do it for myself, but I also do it so it can bless others. 

Happy Thursday!

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Forgetting the Old Me

For the longest time I have struggled with still feeling like the person that was trapped inside my body for nearly 40 years. Even though I’m half the size I used to be and look completely different from what I looked by before, it’s something that still occasionally haunts me. I might walk by the window of a store and see my reflection in the glass and even though I am much smaller, I see the large version with a million rolls of fat and pudginess. It's a feeling of disappointment and a feeling of being insecure and self conscious because of how my body looks, but in all reality, it’s just my mind playing tricks on me. Not allowing me to heal and move forward. Not allowing me to embrace the person I have become. 

This weekend I was out of town at a dance competition for my daughter. I have been running lately and had 8 miles scheduled for myself. I had driven around the town Friday afternoon and decided I would attempt to go for a run in this strange place when I woke up the next morning. I certainly didn’t want to get stuck doing it on the treadmill at the hotel gym. I don’t think I’ve ever run further than about 3 miles on the treadmill. I just don’t care for it. Well, I had a hard time sleeping that night and was wide awake at 6:00 ready to run. Only problem was, it was pitch black outside and not knowing the area and being somewhat scared of the dark anyway, I decided I’d rather be tortured and stick with the treadmill. I got down to the hotel gym and for the longest time I was the only one in there. I got on the treadmill, started to warm up, and realized I was going to be stuck starring at myself in a huge mirror that took up the whole width and length of the wall for however long it took me to get through this run. (Remember, this is the girl who for many years, avoided the camera and the mirror for that matter, except to get ready in the mornings.)  Not to mention, I was in my shorts and tank top so more skin was showing than normal. Usually when I am staring at myself in a mirror or reflective window I am clothed and getting ready for the day.  As my warm-up was complete and I started to run, I first started to notice the negative things my body was doing. My inner thighs that I swear will forever jiggle. The mid section that is not yet where I want it to be. The arms that dangle skin where I don’t want it, and it seemed like the list in my head went on.  About two miles into my run a song came on my I-Pod and it totally caught me off guard. It dialed me into a place that I’m not sure I’ve been able to reach yet on this journey.  All I could do was focus on the face I saw staring back at me in the mirror. It was my own face. And there was no way to avoid it. It didn’t take long and the tears began to well up in my eyes. First they began to come because I didn’t want to be stuck looking at the face I saw in the mirror for the next hour or so. Then something happened. I started looking at the different parts of my body in the mirror as I was running and noticed so many things that without a mirror while running, I wouldn’t have noticed otherwise. For instance, even though I have loose skin that drives me nuts on my inner thighs, I also have muscle in my quads and calves that I never knew existed. My arms and shoulders, even though may not be perfectly where I want them yet, have many areas of definition and improvement from where they were before. Here I was falling in love with a body I really didn’t know existed yet. I noticed my face and how much thinner it is compared to what life was like a few years back. I continued to run and the tears continued to flow.  I was running. Something I never in my wildest dreams thought I was capable of ever mastering just a few short years ago. It was hard, but I was pushing myself. It felt good. I looked at myself in the mirror again and thought about how strong I looked. I didn’t look scared or timid or shy but confident in what I was doing. I was happy. I was enjoying the moment. 

I finally got control of myself about the time someone else came walking in to workout. I knew I had to pull it together or he may have thought I was totally a freak – running and bawling my way through a run as I stared at myself in the mirror. I spent the last few miles focusing on the things that have molded me into who I am today. The things I have fallen in love with doing. The things that allow me to be active. The things that bring me Joy. And the things that bring my heart peace and happiness after years of feeling unhappy with the body my spirit was trapped in. 
It was amazing to me that after that first initial thought of not wanting to look at myself in the mirror and run the eight miles, to when the song came on my I-pod and my focus totally changed, I never once looked back.  I love the fact that I feel like such a heavy burden has been lifted and that I can relish in the enjoyment of the new way of life for me and forget the old way of life. It was something that I had been trying to do for so long but it’s a hard thing to wrap your head around at times, so for it to happen naturally in a moment I was least expecting it, made it all that more special. 

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Difference in Protein Powders...

I had someone ask about protein powder and if I use any. I do actually. I know you’re either a person that likes it or person that doesn’t. I have never been a milk drinker and I’m not a huge meat eater either, so it’s important for me to get my protein and this is one way that works for me.

I was first introduced to protein powder after being contacted by and allowing them to share my story. As a thank you, they sent me a box of treasures. Protein powder was amongst those things. (Click Here  to read that post  )
There are really two different types of protein powder on the market. Here is a little info on both. Neither one is better than the other.  It more or less depends on your own individual needs and preferences. I have used both but generally use one over the other.
Whey Protein: Whey is more of your fast acting protein. A lot of people like to consume this following a workout to help recover, build, and replenish the body.
Casein Protein: This is a slow acting protein. It also does the same things the whey protein does only it takes longer to digest in the system, resulting in feeling fuller longer. 
I like to think of the two proteins as the difference between skim milk and cottage cheese. You may drink a glass of skim milk but within a half hour feel hungry and or not satisfied. If you were to have eaten a serving of cottage cheese instead, chances are you would have remained satisfied longer. 
That is really the only difference. I’m not a doctor or someone who feels comfortable telling you which protein is better for you or even which one you should try. I only know what has worked for me. 
I personally buy the Casein Protein. It’s what works for me and keeps me satisfied until my morning snack. Also, I think it tastes better.  Not that the whey is bad. Again, just a personal preference. The Rich Chocolate flavor is by far my favorite. I make a chocolate/vanilla spinach shake with it every morning to eat with my oatmeal. My trainer has also suggested adding the protein powder right to the oatmeal but for me it was way too rich.  I bet someone out there would like it though.
So there you have it…my two cents on protein powder. 

P.S. I’ve also added it to whole wheat pancake batter and cottage cheese pancakes too. It’s good! 

(My son took this of me after my run this afternoon. He was a little camera happy. Finally warm enough for shorts though!) 

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tub Time - Another Small Victory

Saturday was just one of those days where I felt like I was on the go from morning till night with hardly a minute to feel like I could breathe. That’s not usually how I like to spend my day off, but my list of things to do had grown throughout the week. 

After getting up before 7:00 (Yeah, and on weekends that’s a BIG DEAL because I LOVE my sleep and look forward to sleeping in on Saturdays every week) to get in a 7-mile run before heading out to help my daughter's dance team with a jog-a-thon, and then being tired and cold I was feeling pretty much done. The day then consisted of getting my haircut, grocery shopping, and getting the gym to lift weights. Oh yes, and also shopping for new running shoes. (I found some but had to order them as I seem to be picky when it comes to the color of my running shoes.
By the time I got home It was nearly 6:00pm and all I could think about was making dinner and relaxing, which brings me to the point I wanted to talk about in this post. 
One of the things I have always enjoyed in my life was water. I’m sure my parents would agree, spending part of my early childhood growing up in California and having a swimming pool in my backyard, that I was a fish! These days I often tell my husband that I would enjoy a hot tub as soaking in the tub has become one of my favorites. Has it always been? Not at all. In fact for most of my life, I couldn’t even fit into the tub. It was one of those things that just wasn’t really an option for me. I mean, I guess I could have fit but by the time I would have gotten in there, there wouldn’t have been much room for water. The few times I tried it, it was miserable. Who wants to sit in a tub (Oh, and I better mention I have never had a soaker-style tube so it’s just a standard size tub) and have to squish in and then not even be able to fill the water much or it will flood over the bathroom floor? 
Not only that…it left me nothing but disappointment to see my unclothed body laying there, above water, trying to take a so-called bath. It was depressing. It just reminded me of how fat I was and left me very little hope of ever being anything different. With that in mind, I avoided the tub for many, many years. It wasn’t until after I started running and after having bi-lateral foot surgery that I decided to try it out again.  It was something I was drawn to not for enjoyment at first but for something to help my muscles and feet recover. 
Last night as I filled the tub with warm water and bubbles even, I relished in the fact that I could comfortably fit in the tub. Not only that, I could sink beneath the bubbles and not an ounce of my body showed. (Sorry if that’s TMI for some.) It caught me off guard really, as it was something I guess I hadn't thought about but just suddenly noticed. It made me remember the times I had not been able to fit and how miserable I was. This time, I was relaxed, happy, and just celebrating the moment and the fact that I could do things I thought I never could. Some might think it's silly that I find joy in the fact that I can fit in the bathtub comfortably these days, but it's another one of those small victories that sneak up on you and remind you of how far you've come.
All things are possible. Even when they seen unreasonable or so out of reach. Now, the facts of life's not always easy, but in the end, I'm finding it's so worth it!

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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Motivation...Do you Have What it Takes?

I’ve gotten several emails lately from people asking me how I got motivated to start losing weight and now that I am much smaller, how I stay motivated to keep pressing on. 
Really, I think the motivation for me started to spark when I was so unhappy with how I looked and who I was becoming instead of the person I hoped and dreamed of wanting to be. Just having a spark, a mere idea or thought is really all you need to get started. Sure, there is the friend or family member who has lost a bunch of weight, or the article you read in the magazine, or a blog you may enjoy following, but really what brought you to that point of looking and reading?  That spark within you, right? It’s that easy. You just have to think about it and then want it. 
I know some times that sounds easier said than done. I know that. I had over 130 pounds to lose and there were plenty of days I wondered how and if I was ever going to get there. All those thoughts are normal. We’re human. But in the beginning, I just kept reminding myself, “I want to do this.” And because I was the one deciding and no one was making a decision for me, it gave me the power and stamina and hope that I could be in control and make the change. 
I started small. I set goals. Simple ones. Ones that to others might seem silly but to me would make a difference, like not having seconds on a serving of something or purposely dressing up on a day I could lounge at home in my sweats. Things that weren’t full blown.  "Let’s eat and exercise a certain way.” I knew I wasn’t ready for that. I was mentally delicate, as are most people who have considerable amounts of weight to lose. I wanted to do a few small things to give me confidence and make me feel better. As I was successful in those, I added new things and before I knew it, I was on fire. Nothing was going to stop me. I knew I could do it. Even though I had moments of doubt along the way as I think that is totally normal, I was stronger than I thought and I was watching myself become something I never dreamed of becoming right before my very eyes. 
As far as the here and now, I stay motivated because I am in love with who I have become! I don’t mean that in a proud selfish way. I mean it in a way that I am in love with a person I didn’t know existed. A person that was nearly hiding for 40 years. A person that can now do things she never dreamed of doing. I definitely have had my share of hills and valleys along the way as well as during my maintenance, but I have learned and continue to learn, that is totally normal. 
If I can say one thing…if you have a spark, even if it be small, a desire, something inside you that wants to change, even if it doesn’t seem like much, if there is hope, that is all you need. Challenge yourself with some small goals in the coming weeks and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a whole new you. 

This is what life was like when I had that first spark. That desire inside me that so wanted a change. (See, I had a lot of work to do, huh?) 

And here is life now. The spark and desire turned to hope, dedication, and an opportunity to be become who I am today. 

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blogging & Maintenance

It’s funny how over the last several months I have come to my own blog for strength and support. There have been so many times where I want to sit down and write a post and then I’m overcome with some sort of emotion from a past post on where I started and how far I’ve come that it seems to do the trick for a while and I continue to carry on.  

One of the things I loved about the idea of starting this blog originally was to have a record for myself of what I had accomplished along with all the physical & emotional challenges that came with taking on such a life-changing event. When you look at the big picture and try to wrap your head around the idea of losing any large amount of weight, it can be daunting. (I know this certainly was the case for me when tackling over 130 pounds.)  If some of you have read my blog for a while you’ll know I actually didn’t start blogging until AFTER I had lost all the weight. I wanted to go back and record what life was like and enjoy the process more than I did when I was actually going through it. (I’m a slow learner so it took me losing the weight first before I could go back and figure out a way to enjoy the journey.) 

This blog has done just that. It has given me a chance to open up with not only others, but more importantly myself. It’s given me a chance to feel happy and free, forgiven and loved.  I love the feeling that I can do hard things and become whoever I set out to be.

January was 3 years for me. 3 years since I lost all the weight and changed my life. There were so many times right when I got to that point (the day I hit my goal) that I was unsure of what my future held and often wondered if I could keep the weight off because every day was a new day. (It still is.) I had never been this small, let alone wasn’t quite sure how to live in a body this size. Sometimes I thought I would be more comfortable to work my way back to my old body as my new body was at times intimidating, but I’m glad I didn’t let those thoughts occupy my time for very long.  

It hasn’t been an easy journey and some months and days are definitely harder than others, but I am happy to say I am glad I am still healthy and happy.  Maintenance is a journey in and of itself. I am hoping to blog frequently about my maintenance and what I am up to in hopes that my email inbox will stop growing and all will be well with the world because you’ll all know I am doing well and pressing on. 

Until next time….

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Monday, October 7, 2013

Bottled Chicken!

Eating healthy can sometimes be tricky when life gets in the way, you work full time, have kids to chauffeur to and from various activities, have a house to keep up on, get to the gym, and everything in between. 

Let me introduce you to my new favorite treat. Bottled chicken! 
I know, right? Honestly, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be domestic enough to pull this one off but one of my co-workers does it all the time and talked me into giving it a whirl. First off, I bought my chicken ahead of time. When on sale around here, it comes by the refrigerated truckloads. I got myself a 40lb case. Let me tell you, that is a lot of chicken! Well, at least more than I'm used to buying at once. 

The part about getting it all cut and in jars was no big deal. In fact, it took no time at all. In all honesty, I was more nervous about the processing of the jars. I was creeped out that I wouldn't do it right, we'd all get sick, and it would be a disaster in and of itself. Once in jars and in the pressure cooker, 75 minutes, and you've got the best chicken ever!

I love this stuff! And it has no preservatives and all the other yucky stuff they cram into the canned chicken at the stores. Better yet, it's perfect as a go-to staple in so many meals. Enchiladas, paninis, homemade soup, and just on the top of a salad. It's so juicy, full of flavor, and just falls apart the way you would want it to. I even ate it right out of the jar in my fridge as a snack this week.

I love finding new tricks and new ideas for eating healthy. It makes it that much easier to stay on track and treat my body in the way it was meant to be treated. How grateful I am for who I've become in this whole process. I may not be perfect, but I'm much better than I was 2.5 years ago.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Making Eating and Exercise a Hobby

When I first typed the title of this post, I chuckled. Only because there is NO WAY if you would have asked me 2.5 years ago to make my eating and exercise a hobby, would I have ever listened. My brain was trained to love food. (It still is.) It hated (I don't use that word often but it's the truth) the thought of having to workout. I have discovered now, that when I was heavy, unhappy, and miserable, that at times because my body looked the way it did, exercise was a punishment. (Because I was fat, I had to be punished and exercise was the ticket.)  I was punishing myself when I needed to be changing something and making it a positive, fat or not. Some may agree or disagree, but let me explain it to you from my perspective.
I have dealt with weight issues the majority of my life. I was active and covered it well at times, but I definitely went through hills and valleys of being chubbier at different times. I played basketball as a child and into high school and that never slowed me down.  It was just a part of who I was. In fact, because I was active and in sports I had a hard time wondering why I was blessed with this body that looked so different than most others on the court. Why I wasn't trimmer. Until I started losing the weight a couple years ago I honestly thought it was genetics. I mean if I couldn't eat right and lose the weight as an active teenager, why would I be able to do it as an adult -nearing 40 at the time no less. Because of this, and over the years of many attempts at trying to lose weight and get healthy, exercise was a chore, a punishment. I never learned to enjoy it because it didn't seem to matter how hard I worked, nothing ever changed.

I can see how so many people can get in this trap, this mind set and having now been through it, I wish there was something magical I could say that will make it all better.  Really it wasn't until I started increasing my calories (yes eat more than 1200 a day), making my exercise into something I enjoy, that the pounds started to melt away. 

In some ways, I wish I would have figured that out years ago, but in other ways, I'm not sure I was ready. Being healthy is a lifestyle and I'm not sure I had the mindset nor was desperate enough until a couple years ago, to make the change. It's one of those things in life that until you are so miserable, so unhappy, and so desperate to make a change, that it will work. If your mind and heart are only halfway on board, it's so easy to slip or find yourself making excuses for this thing and for that.
Exercise for me these days is something I love. I live for it. In fact, the days I don't get to exercise the way I wanted or had planned can send me into grouch mode. Exercise has become a part of who I am and who I want to be. Some of the things in the beginning that helped me out were: not setting too high of expectations (maybe only a few times a week), making it things I enjoyed, having a buddy to workout with, making a graph/chart to help me stay on track, and telling myself how lucky I was to get to exercise that day. In fact as the months and years went on, exercise became a game for me. It became my hobby. It was my sport.
Now that I am working to maintain my weight, it's not drudgery to go to the gym or workout. In fact, most days, it's my favorite time of day. I look forward to it!

Not every day is easy and I certainly am human and fall short from time to time. The important thing is that I know and feel when things are out of balance. It's the steps I take to get back into action that matter most. 

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